Social Studies - 2018-19

VS.4b - Culture of Colonial Virginia

The student will demonstrate an understanding of life in the Virginia colony by

b) describing how the culture of colonial Virginia reflected the origins of American Indians, European (English, Scots-Irish, German) immigrants, and Africans.

Adopted: 2015


  • Different people groups can bring different ideas, resources, and cultures to a society.
  • Culture refers to the behaviors, beliefs, values, traditions, institutions and ways of living together of a group of people.
  • A culture can influence how individuals and societies address their needs and concerns.


The culture of colonial Virginia reflected the beliefs, customs, and architecture of the Europeans, Africans, and American Indians living there.

Although it was a colony of England, Virginia developed a unique culture different from that of England.


Culture of colonial Virginia

Whenever people settle an area, they change the landscape to reflect their culture and customs. Examples of architecture that reflect different cultures include

  • barns
  • homes
  • places of worship (e.g., churches).

Place names reflecting culture

  • Richmond—English
  • Roanoke—American Indian

Settlement areas

  • English and other Europeans settled primarily in the Coastal Plain (Tidewater) and Piedmont regions.
  • Germans and Scots-Irish settled primarily in the Shenandoah Valley, which was along the migration route.
  • Africans were brought primarily to the Coastal Plain (Tidewater) and Piedmont regions to work in tobacco fields, which required a great deal of labor.
  • Prior to the arrival of the settlers, American Indians lived throughout Virginia. After the settlers arrived, most were forced inland.

Migration and living in new areas caused people to adapt old customs to their new environments.


Updated: May 18, 2018